Thursday, January 22, 2009

Another Disconnect

Before forgetting, I have to mention the new toy two of our grandsons got from Uncle Dane and Aunt Leah for Christmas. Imagine a fully working spider slightly bigger than a softball and operated by remote control. The thing is, the legs move in a very authentic fashion that makes it more than a little "creepy". Congrats to the engineers, whatever country they come from, who put together this fun and (slightly) scary amusement.

And from the Department of Find-A-Need-and-Fill-It, we now have a product sure to be a hit - tattoo remover creme you apply yourself. It's supposed to do the job painlessly, but completely, wiping out (literally) the name of the former girlfriend and/or other youthful mistakes. Would it be found in drug stores by the sun block? Or would it only be where one goes for "all your tattoo needs"? I'm not sure.

I suppose everyone with the least desire to saw the Inauguration. It's too important to have ignored, though no doubt lots of people did just that. I've been wondering, however, what I could possibly write about the big event that hasn't already been in print somewhere a hundred times or more.
Then I noticed something from the center of news on all things Mormon, the Deseret News. Is it hard to imagine a newspaper that prints all the usual items, but functions as a subsidiary of a church? That's what the DN is, dating back to the 1850's. They use plenty of AP material and so forth, but the DN is the original source for all things pertaining to the Church, now 13 million strong in 150 or so nations.
Two of the Church's highest officials represented The Latter Day Saints at the Inauguration. Their names aren't important, but one is, I believe, still a citizen of his native Germany and speaks english with an accent much less pronounced than either Governor Schwarzenegger or Henry Kissinger. The two men sat through the frigid ceremony and other events aimed at religious leaders, and said that they had been quite moved by the ceremony, One said that church memebers should join in praying for the success of President Obama. Of course, Church leaders are always careful in their choice of words, and everyone understood that the good wishes were expressed in the most general terms - peace on earth, a healthy economy with full employment, etc. Nothing specific was mentioned, as one might have expected, but all good will is welcome, right?
But here's the disconnect mentioned in the title. The Church also owns a Salt Lake City radio station that dates back to the industry's beginnings in the 1020's. It's pretty well known as the home of the Mormon Tabernacle Choir's weekly broadcasts, and can sometimes be heard in an area the size of Mongolia.
This station has followed the path of other big-wattage AM radio stations, choosing to earn a profit mainly through the broadcast of college sports and...conservative talk, including the Grand Dragon of Righteous Right Wing Radio, Rush Limbausgh. We don't get the station, so I'm not sure who else gets a turn at theis station's audience, but there must be upwards of 50 hours a week or more given over to some sometimes mean-spirited material that helps the state of Utah stay solidly Republican. It goes without saying that the next nice thing said on these stations about President Obama will also be the first nice thing.
Church leaders almost never say anything partisan in regards to political issues, so who knows how they really feel about the new administration? They aren't saying, but there are plenty of others out there who would happily put the most anti-Democratic spin possible on every current event from presidential lapel pins to the breed of the Obama family dog, combining the sacred and secular in what can be frightening ways. I'm inclined to think that it's the everyday AM radio message pounded into the average Utahan that will prevail in his mind when the words of vague praise and encouagement uttered this week are long forgotten.


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